#1 Know your state laws!
This seems a little scary.....the word 'law', yikes! There are laws with homeschooling? Yes. Each state has their own homeschooling laws and requirements. You can go to HSLDA.org (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) and click on your state to see what your state laws are. There are only 5 states that have high regulation, some with low to moderate regulation and there are also a few that have no notice requirement at all! The few that have no notice requirements (meaning, you do not have to notify them at all that you are homeschooling) are MI, IN, IL, IA, MO, OK, TX, AK, NJ, ID and CT. (Guam & Puerto Rico are in this group as well.) Some of these may require a certain number of days or hours to be schooled, or different compulsory age requirements, some want log books and portfolio's to be kept, but there is no notice to be filed and I don't believe any assessments are required to be turned in. So please check your state before you start to homeschool to make sure you are compliant with the laws! Our veteran homeschoolers fought to preserve these rights for us so we don't want to infringe on them.
#2 Plug into your local homeschool groups!
If you don't think your community has a homeschool group, think again. We are out there! (We are everywhere! hahaha) Homeschooling is growing at a ridiculous rate this past decade. There are over 2 million homeschooled children in the US alone!
Just Google 'homeschool groups' or find your state under- http://www.homeschool.com/supportgroups/
HSLDA also has groups listed. However, keep in mind that these groups will need to register with these websites. So if you cannot find a group using these websites, that doesn't mean they don't exist. Our local homeschool group has over 120 families in a rural area of northwest WV and we aren't on these sites. (Not sure why now that I'm thinking about this. Hmmmm.) Your public library is another great place to ask about homeschooling groups. Most homeschooling parents utilize the library. Also, there are several homeschooling groups on Facebook now. So they are out there, you just need to look. :)
#3 Ask for help!
Don't be afraid to ask for help! Don't be afraid to ask what you might think is a silly question. But do NOT ask your local pubic school questions! They do NOT know the homeschool laws and may give you wrong info. Also, they are more than likely losing money on those being homeschooled so their goal is to get your child(ren) back into the public school system. You see the picture. (By the way, don't feel bad about the local schools losing money on your child(ren), they still receive some money for them and you still pay school taxes even though your child isn't attending.) Anyway, please ask someone who knows the laws. A homeschool coordinator, a veteran homeschool mom or dad, HSLDA, etc. These are the people you want to ask because they are knowledgeable about homeschooling all the way around.
Before I end this blog post, I want to take a minute to explain HSDLA.
HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Assoc.) is a group of Christian attorneys who fight and help preserve our homeschooling rights. Not just here in the US, but all over the world. They are wonderful. There is a membership fee of $120 per year. This fee includes any questions you may have, advice, shopping perks, etc. You will get a teacher ID card with membership so you can use it at certain stores for discounts just like the public school teachers do. (After all, you will be an educator.) The best part of this membership is peace of mind. If the school board contacts and asks for something that isn't required by law, you call HSLDA and ask for advice. Our local school board started calling parents a few years back asking for information (why we are homeschooling? what can they do to get our kids back in to the public school system?). A few of us called HSDLA. They wrote a letter to the board explaining that they are not to contact us for things that are not required by law. The phone calls stopped. But it goes beyond that. I've read articles on homeschool parents getting charged with Truancy. (Maybe their paperwork got lost or they were still on the public school roster.) HSLDA will go to court for you and defend your homeschooling rights. No fees are paid to them except your membership fee. I've been to court before and lawyers are not cheap! HSLDA has been my peace of mind for many years. They have monthly plans (of $10) or you can buy 5 years for $500 or even a LIFETIME membership for $1000. I wish I would have purchased the lifetime membership. I am going on my 13'th year of homeschooling and I've paid by year. hahaha. But it is worth every penny! To view the membership options or to join, click HERE.
Thank you for reading my blog! I hope this information has helped those who are currently homeschooling and are new to it.
God Bless & Happy Homeschooling!